Why take out Slobodan Milosevic but not Saddam Hussein?

William Saletan at Slate loves the Wes Clark bio spot. Jacob Weisburg thinks it’s effective television, but doubts Clark’s consistency: if it was worth fighting Milosevic, says Weisburg, then why not Saddam Hussein?

Please, Jacob, ask me a hard one. Taking out Milosevic was, in the event, relatively easy, and once it was done it was done. We didn’t have to occupy Serbia and fight a guerrilla war there.

Clark’s stated opposition to the war in Iraq was that it made it harder rather than easier to fight al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups. He could be right or wrong about that (I was on the other side of that argument), but distingishing the two cases really isn’t very hard.

The spot itself leaves me cold, but I’m not the voter it’s supposed to appeal to. If the link above doesn’t work, try this one and pick your technology.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com